Visit to local animal shelter sparks appreciation of life

On Friday, a group of my sorority sisters and I teamed up with members of social fraternity Delta Sigma Phi to spend some time volunteering at the A.N.N.A. Shelter,  also known as the Association for Needy and Neglected Animals, a non profit animal welfare organization.

Janae Butler, features editor

 I’ve been to animal shelters before, but my visit to the A.N.N.A. Shelter affected me in a way that I would not have been able to predict in a million years.

I instantly went to the dog/puppy section, as I am not a fan of felines by any means.

I was only in the dog portion of the shelter for five minutes before I saw Ziggy, the cutest dog I’ve ever laid eyes on – besides the one that my parents currently own, of course. Ziggy, a 9-month-old Border collie mix, stole my eyes and my heart with just a quick glance.

He was so tiny, sitting in the corner of his little area gazing around at all the students who had just stormed in. I walked up the front of the cage and stuck my hand out for him to sniff, if he chose to do so.

He walked up to me very slowly, and then after sniffing my hand and thus giving me his approval, sat down and licked my hand. I felt like such a traitor to my own dog, as I had totally fallen in love with Ziggy.

This dog had a trait that my dog, which has been spoiled from day one, never had – the notion of vulnerability and fear.

As I walked around and visited the rest of the dogs in the shelter,  I kept thinking to myself that I could never imagine leaving one of them to fend for itself.

It made me think even more of how dogs are a legitimate responsibility. They have personalities and feelings, and they are perfectly aware of what goes on around them.

These facts were made all the more clear when I saw the sad eyes of every dog in the shelter. Each one told a different story, and even though I’m no dog whisperer, I knew that none of the stories were happy ones.

After much debate, I was talked out of adopting Ziggy for the same reason that dogs like him are in shelters in the first place – I couldn’t take on a responsibility that I wouldn’t be able to handle.

It would have been so easy for me to whip out my debit card, leave with Ziggy and never look back. But then I would’ve had to deal with the consequence of not having anyone to be there for him, and I refused to have that on my conscience.

As much as it sucked for me to walk out of that shelter empty-handed, the time I spent there made me appreciate my life.

I am so lucky to be surrounded with friends and family who make me feel like I matter to them.

 While I may not get to provide a happy second chance for Ziggy, I trust that he will be brought into a family who will.

 Be sure to take the time to appreciate your blessings, as there are people and animals who are much less fortunate than you.

JANAE BUTLER

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